Paragould’s “Bark Park” is readying for opening.
Paragould Parks and Recreation director Pat Austin said she expected the Harmon Park facility would be ready to receive human and canine patrons around Oct. 16 – “depending on this rain,” she said in reference to Hurricane Delta. “I’m thrilled. It’s another dream come true.”
As previously reported, construction of a facility like the Bark Park has been on a “wish list” for Austin for a number of years. The aim, she said, is to provide a place for people who live in apartments, or in residences without fenced yards, to walk their dogs.
“We’ve wanted to do this for several years, now, for us, for our community and our ‘fur-babies,’” she had said as Paragould Wal-Mart store manager Terry Melton presented her checks totaling $10,000 for construction of 900 feet of fencing around the Bark Park back in November.
Counting the checks, the Bark Park had a total cost of $50,000. In addition, city employees worked to provide sod and drainage for the park.
The park features two areas, a smaller one of 120 feet by 92 feet (11,040 square feet) for dogs weighing less than 30 pounds and a larger 179 by 141-foot area (25,239 square feet) for dogs 30 pounds and larger. The separation is to help ensure the safety of the smaller dogs.
Austin said each section of the Bark Park has “features” – ramps, rings, hoops and even fire hydrants – for the enjoyment of the dogs. She said the city was able to get a 29 percent discount on the features. “And they’re movable,” Austin said, “so we don’t get too much wear and tear on the grass where they are located.”
In addition, each section has double-gated entrances on the north side, offset so if a dog gets away from its owner, it will not be able to run directly away from the owner. “And we have water fountains,” Austin said, “for adults, for children and for the dogs.”
The park also has stations for deposit of dog waste, as well as a set of rules:
Park gates must be closed and latched at all times
Dogs must be leashed on park entry and departure
Dogs must be up to date on vaccinations
No more than 15 dogs in each section at a time
No dogs in heat
Dog handlers must be in view and in control of their dogs at all times
Dogs showing aggressive behavior must be removed from the park immediately
Children must be closely supervised at all times
Children are not allowed to play on dog features
Owners must dispose of waste immediately in the proper receptacle
No animals other than dogs are allowed in the Bark Park
No food or drinks of any kind are allowed in the unleashed area of the Bark Park
No smoking or alcohol allowed in the park
All city rules and regulations apply within the Bark Park
No special events or sales of any kind are allowed without written permission of the Parks and Recreation Department
Professional dog trainers are not permitted to use the off-leash area for business purposes without city approval.
As previously reported, Austin said she chose the location because there is a park, a playground and restrooms. “And it’s a pretty quiet area,” she said, “so there won’t be too much to get the dogs excited.”